Is the XUV500 significantly better than the Toyota Innova?

Updated: 11/04/2012

Mahindra’s crossover sports utility vehicle, the XUV500, is a tough competitor to reckon with, for even established people-movers such as the Toyota Innova. We pitch the XUV500 against the Toyota Innova to see if it still holds its ground.

Here we compare the base XUV500 W6 priced at Rs. 11.58 lakh ex-showroom Delhi with the new Toyota Innova GX which lies at a similar price point (Rs. 11.63 lakh). On the face of it, the odds seem stacked in the XUV’s favour, but there are some areas where the Innova can still put up a fight. After driving the XUV500 extensively, we can give you some direct comparisons in key areas.

Is the XUV500 significantly better than the Toyota Innova?
Photo: The XUV500 surges ahead of the Innova in terms of features and looks

Performance and handling

The XUV500 is powered by a 2.2-litre common-rail diesel engine that puts out 140 bhp of power and 330 Nm of torque, mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. The Innova is powered by a 2.5-litre diesel engine that puts out 102 bhp of power and 200 Nm of torque mated to a five-speed manual transmission.

Though the XUV is slightly heavier than the Innova, it still has a clear lead in terms of power and performance. The XUV is based on a monocoque, car-like chassis and is a front-wheel drive vehicle. We recently drove the XUV extensively. It has much better pick-up and acceleration than the Innova and even reaches a much higher top speed. On corners there is a bit of body roll in the XUV.

The Innova too has a similar amount of body roll. Braking is clearly better in the XUV than the Innova, though the pedal feel is not that confidence inspiring. One area of improvement the XUV needs is the gearshift quality. The Innova’s gears are a lot smoother and more positive. However, once you get used to it, overall the XUV feels far more sporty and easier to drive than the Innova, which is quite sedate.

In terms of performance and handling, the XUV is better than the Innova.

Is the XUV500 significantly better than the Toyota Innova?
Photo: The Innova still has an edge over the XUV500 in terms of space!

Space and comfort

The Mahindra XUV has plenty of useable space inside and is great on comfort for five passengers. But for those looking for additional space, especially to carry seven passengers, then the XUV loses out to the Innova. Both the XUV and the Innova have good and supportive front seats.

The XUV’s second row of seats reclines and has plenty of legroom for passengers under normal conditions, though if the front seats are pushed back fully, legroom is average. The Innova too has plenty of legroom in the rear seat middle row. Under thigh support however is slightly better in the Toyota Innova compared to the XUV.

In the third row, the Innova clearly retains its advantage on space. With all three rows of seats in use, the third row in the XUV feels cramped even for average sized adults and is best for kids, while the Toyota Innova can seat two or three adults in the last row comfortably, depending on the seat configuration. Also with all three rows in use, the XUV has almost no luggage space, except for a couple of laptop bags at best behind the last row, while the Innova can still pack in a little more luggage.

So in terms of overall comfort for a full complement of passengers (all seven seats occupied), the Innova is a better bet.


Looks may be subjective, as some may like the XUV’s loud and futuristic styling, others may not. However, when it comes to the fit and finish of the material used on the vehicles, the 2012 Toyota Innova has a more consistent feel to it. Panel gaps are uniform all around and the vehicle looks well finished. The XUV too is a huge improvement in terms of fit for a Mahindra vehicle. However, Mahindra has gone overboard on the use of plastic bits on the exteriors, such as the panels under the headlamps and above the tail lamps. These plastics are shiny and prone to scratches and don’t look like they’ll last long.

The 2012 Innova is conservatively styled and looks more car-like than a MPV. The horizontal chrome slats on the front grille resemble the Toyota Camry while the headlamps too remind other Toyota cars. The outside mirrors get turn indicators. The rear design of the new Innova features new tail lamp cluster and a thick horizontal chrome strip with ‘Innova’ embossed on it.

On the interiors, at first sight, the XUV500 looks far more luxurious than the new Innova. But look closely at the plastic used in areas like the box on top of the dashboard, chiller box in between the seats and some rough edges begin to show up. Also the combination of different textures in the XUV may be slightly overdone for most tastes, while the Innova’s plain and simple, yet well put-together dashboard and refreshed interiors work in its favor.

The XUV500 is a macho SUV and may attract buyers looking for brawny SUV while on overall fit and finish, the Toyota Innova is still slightly ahead of the XUV.


All variants of the Toyota Innova don’t come close the XUV when it comes to features and gizmos offered. The Innova GX we’re comparing here does not have as many features that the base XUV W6 offers. The Innova GX does not have airbags or ABS, while the XUV offers them. The XUV also goes on to add power-folding mirrors, while the Innova only has electric adjustable mirrors. Bending lights, cruise control, infotainment system, parking sensors, chiller box, rain-sensing wipers, automatic headlamps and a host of other features are present on the XUV’s feature list, while the 2012 Innova appears almost minimalistic in comparison.

Even the VX (top-end) variant of the Innova priced at Rs. 12.57 lakh does not offer as many features as the base XUV W6 variant.

On features alone, the XUV is clearly more loaded than the Innova.

Price, Mileage and VFM

The Innova and XUV500 are priced close to each other and the XUV500 W6 despite packing so many features is Rs. 5,000 less than the Innova GX. The Toyota Innova gives a claimed mileage of 13 kmpl, while the XUV500 claims an ARAI-certified mileage figure of 15.1 kmpl. When we recently tested the XUV, it shocked us with its fuel economy. In the city we got an average of 14.3 kmpl and out on the highway we managed to achieve a rather unbelievable 16.4 kmpl. The Innova is known to give over 12 kmpl on highway runs consistently and about 11 kmpl in the city. The XUV’s six-speed gearbox with a tall sixth gear clearly helps the XUV give better highway mileage. In terms of fuel economy, the XUV is better than the Innova.

The XUV500 is priced at Rs. 11.58 lakh which is Rs.5,000 less than the Innova GX. At this price point, not only does the XUV offer more features, it also has more power and better mileage. The Innova only plays the quality car and offers slightly better seating and luggage space.

Pros and Cons

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The Innova is clearly a better people-mover, while the XUV appeals to all other needs of customers. Buy the Toyota Innova if you are looking for space and comfort for seven passengers at most times (for instance if you have a large family or need it for office transport). Buy the XUV500 if you want a value-for-money, aggressive-looking crossover, that can pamper you with features and performance, but won’t carry more than five people at most times.

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